Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?


The following opinion piece was written by Bregs Blog Team on July 1st 2014.

Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?

An industry alert for pyrite in blockwork was issued at the end of May 2014 by both representative bodies for engineers and architects (ACEI and RIAI). However we suspect that this issue first arose at a much earlier date. See previous blog post here.

The radio interview in the following link, regarding pyrite in Donegal, is 6 mins long and is well worth listening to- it dates from November 2013: click link here.

This second radio piece gives an overview to the pyrite occurence in Donegal- this was also broadcast in November 2013. Click radio link here.

Were the Department of the Environment and the Local Authority in Donegal aware of these much earlier Donegal cases?

Quote from the radio interview: “it appears that cases involving pyrite and defective concrete blocks in Donegal first came to light on 17th October 2013- A chartered engineer based in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal did an interview on Highland Radio on the 17th of October on the issue of pyrite. Very quickly, the station was swamped with callers- all describing similar structural problems in their homes. In the two days after the interview Damien (the engineer) was called out to inspect 200 affected buildings.

The Minister for the Environment has stated in the Dáil that he was only made aware of the problem of pyrite in blockwork on 7th April 2014 (see Dáil statement here).

Quote: “…In this specific case raised by the Deputy, the report from the Institute of Construction Professionals found that the relevant local authority did carry out a site inspection on 7 April 2014 in respect of the manufacture of the solid 100 mm concrete blocks which it was alleged were contaminated with pyrite and sulfates. ..”

If the Local Authority in Donegal and the Department were aware of pyrite blocks in 2013 why did they not issue an industry alert immediately? The recent demolitions carried out in Leinster might have been avoided if appropriate action had been taken back in 2013?

It is imperative that the Department explains what and when they knew about pyrite problems and what action was taken by its officials. The Department should also immediately inform the public if it is currently aware of any other defective building products on the market in Ireland. Are there any other ‘contaminants’ the industry should be made aware of (muscovite mica, sulphur etc)?

There are many questions that remain to be answered on the handling of the Donegal pyrite problem to ensure that consumers and construction professionals are protected.

Other posts of interest:

Pyrite blocks in Donegal- October 2013. – click link here

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now? – click link here

Dáil debates: Mick Wallace and Minister Hogan- Pyrite – click link here

Quick history of pyrite- press articles – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here


RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite – click linkhere

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here


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